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Cuda Named PAC Offensive MVP; Debeljak Co-Coach of the Year; 17 Spartans on All-PAC Teams

More news about: Case Western Reserve

Complete 2017 All-PAC Teams

Case Western Reserve University senior quarterback Rob Cuda was selected as the 2017 Presidents' Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player, while Head Coach Greg Debeljak was named the conference' Co-Coach of the Year, as 17 total Spartans were named to the All-PAC teams, as voted on by the league's 11 coaches and released on Tuesday afternoon.

Cuda became the first player in CWRU history to be named the PAC's Offensive Player of the Year.  He led all conference quarterbacks in passing efficiency (169.4, 11th in DIII), passing touchdowns (28, 16th in DIII), passing yards (2,510, 38th in DIII), total offense (290.2, 26th in DIII) and points responsible for (204, 13th in DIII).  He completed 59.6% of his passes and threw just five interceptions, while rushing for an additional 392 yards and six touchdowns.  Cuda was named the PAC Player of the Week on October 16th.

Cuda also earned a spot on the All-PAC First Team, marking the third-straight year he has been recognized by the conference (second team in 2016, first team in 2015).

This was the first PAC Coach of the Year Award for Debeljak, who has previously been named the University Athletic Association Coach of the Year on six occasions.  Now in his 14th season with the team, he has compiled a 101-42 record, and claimed the 100th win of his career on November 4th against Westminster College.  He has gone 24-8 in PAC play over the last four seasons, including a perfect 8-0 conference ledger this season, leading to a share of the 2017 PAC Championship.  Debeljak shared the Coach of the Year honor with Washington & Jefferson's Mike Sirianni.

Joining Cuda on the All-PAC First Team were senior center Gage Blair, senior running back Jacob Burke, junior defensive end Cameron Brown and senior linebacker Justin McMahon.

Blair earned All-PAC First Team honors for the third-straight season, after starting seven games and anchoring the Spartans' offensive line.  Burke was an All-PAC Second Team honoree last year and a PAC Player of the Week earlier this season, and led the PAC in rushing touchdowns (17), while running for 1,072 yards in 2017.  Brown, an All-PAC Second Team selection last year, started all 10 games and led the Spartans with 4.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries, while totaling 41 tackles, including 10 for a loss.  McMahon, an All-PAC honorable mention in 2016, was the team's leader in tackles, finishing the year with 72 total including eight for a loss, while recovering three fumbles, and was selected as the conference's Defensive Player of the Week on October 23rd and November 13th.

Second team honorees for the Spartans included senior guard Ryan DeMarinis, junior wide receiver Justin Phan, junior defensive lineman Ian Henderson, senior linebacker Andrew Banathy, senior safety Cody Calhoun and senior kicker Ben Carniol.

DeMarinis started seven games at guard for the Spartans, en route to being named to the All-PAC second team for the second straight season.  Phan led all Spartan players with 48 receptions and seven receiving touchdowns, while finishing the regular season second on the squad with 591 receiving yards.  Henderson was a big presence in the middle of the defensive line during the year, recording 37 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, and forcing three fumbles, and was named the PAC Defensive Player of the Week and selected to the D3football.com Team of the Week on September 19th.  Banathy was second on the team during the regular season with 64 tackles and four sacks, while leading the team with 11 tackles for a loss and 35 solo tackles.  Calhoun, a team captain, led the Spartans' pass defense, notching 58 tackles, an interception and three pass breakups.  Carniol made 55-of-57 extra point attempts and eight-of-11 field goal tries to earn All-PAC Second Team honors for the second time in his career.

Earning honorable mentions to the All-PAC teams were senior running back Aaron Aguilar, senior wide receiver Zak Hurd, senior defensive end Dan Techman, senior linebacker Zach Lyon, sophomore safety Patrick Crossey, and senior cornerback Adrian Cannon.

Aguilar caught 16 passes for 210 yards and five touchdowns in 2017, while rushing for an additional 48 yards.  Hurd led the squad with 606 receiving yards, catching 25 passes with four touchdowns, and ranks ninth in Division III with 24.24 yards per reception.  Techman started all 10 games for CWRU, finishing the regular season with 49 tackles (23 solo), including 7.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks, while forcing a pair of fumbles.  Lyon collected 28 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss in 2017, while recovering a fumble, forcing a fumble, and blocking a kick (resulting in PAC Special Team Player of the Week honors on November 13th).  Crossey led all CWRU players with four interceptions and four pass breakups, tallying 56 total tackles during the year.  Cannon was named an honorable mention to the All-PAC team for the second-straight year, collecting two interceptions, two sacks and 33 total tackles.

In addition, CWRU senior receiver Giuseppe Orsini was named the Spartans' representative on the PAC Sportsmanship Team.

The 16th-ranked Spartans finished the 2017 regular season with a perfect 10-0 record, marking the fifth undefeated regular season in program history.  CWRU won a share of the 2017 Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship, and clinched the University Athletic Association title outright.  The Spartans will be making their fourth appearance in program history in the NCAA playoffs, and will travel to Bloomington, Illinois to face 11th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan University in the first round.

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